Strengthening our Vitality During Cold and Flu Season

February 2013 Three Paragraph Newsletter

This winter has been tough, with a lot of people experiencing a wide variety of colds, flu, bronchitis, you name it! One method to try to avoid getting sick is to stay away from anyone that is sick (which unless you are a hermit in a cave is pretty challenging). A different approach is to say: well, when I get sick my body makes me do certain things, and one of them is to slow down. Indeed, having to lie in bed for a week is an effective way to slow down, but one that most of us would rather avoid. We can influence our health by remembering that very many people find they get sick when they have been over-extending themselves—trying to cram in too much into too little time. They have gotten “toxic” (think of work deadlines, studying for final exams, travel with disrupted sleep and eating rhythms). And a process of inflammation makes us slow down and simplify (whether we want to or not), and cleanses the body.

We can help the body not get so out of balance by giving it more of what it needs. This is admittedly a very different gesture than frantically trying to avoid getting sick, scrubbing down every surface with disinfectant wipes, which tends to make us even more stressed! Instead, try to give yourself a break. This means cutting back on what you are taking in from the inside and simplifying your diet(s)—your food diet (less protein, no caffeine or alcohol), activity diet (cancel or reschedule things that are not essential), and sensory diet (turn off screens, switch off phones, radios, etc.) Curious about “sensory” diets? Here’s a link to an article written by Dr. Blanning and published a few years ago all about sensory diet:

And one more step: take a nutritive bath. This may sound like a human milkshake at first glance, but it has proven helpful for many people over multiple generations. Do it for three nights in a row–get out, pat dry, and get into warm pajamas, and sleep—and see if you don’t feel better…
Nutritive Bath:
Uses: for physical depletion or recovery from a long illness.
What you will need: a clean, deep bathtub; one lemon, one egg, half a quart of whole milk; an opportunity to rest afterwards (best to avoid if you have a strong egg allergy)
Directions: fill the bathtub deeply enough to soak, with water that is about body temperature, not super hot. Whisk the egg and the milk together and add to the water. Cut the lemon in half under the water, squeeze out the juice (this helps to release oils from the rind). Mix all together with figure-of-eight strokes. After the bath (a 10 minute bath is fine) immediately wrap up in towels and blankets and go lie down. Do not scrub dry, just pat your skin; it should remain moist so that it can continue to absorb. You should rest quietly for a minimum of 20 more minutes. Allowing yourself the time to take a nap or to fall into a good night’s sleep is even better.

Dr. Blanning

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